I like to think that we follow the golden rule: market to others as you would like to be marketed to. This really boils down to putting Customer Experience (CX) first. Being ‘customer-obsessed’ is certainly in vogue, as the Ritz-Carlton, Trader Joe’s, Netflix and others that made Forbes’ Most Customer-Obsessed Companies In 2018 list will tell you. But how can companies actually go about putting their customers first?
On the macro level, there’s a lot of advice out there: Constantly learn about your customers and innovate. Save a seat at the boardroom table for an expert of customer intelligence, etc.
How about something that any marketer or CX specialist can do on their own, every day? I’m talking about website testing and personalisation.
What Is Website Testing and Personalisation?
As you might already know, running tests – whether they be A/B tests, multivariate tests, or split page tests – involves determining the effectiveness of one version of a landing page, product page, home page or other web page against a variation. The idea is to see if changing one or more elements will improve the page’s KPIs.
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Website personalisation is about dynamically changing a web page’s content depending on the attributes or behavior of the person visiting the site. The idea is to make the visitor’s experience more relevant and specific to their user journey, therefore increasing their likelihood of engaging with the website and ultimately converting into a customer.
Why Is Testing and Personalisation Important for CX?
The ultimate aim of website testing and personalisation is to increase conversion rates like clicks, downloads and purchases. These results help businesses drive more revenue and become more competitive. Indeed, The Boston Consulting Group recently announced that brands that integrate digital tools and data to create personalized experiences benefit from an increase in revenues from between 6% and 10%, which is two to three times faster than brands that don’t personalize.
And they weren’t alone: In a new commissioned study, Maximize Customer Value Through Strategic Conversion Rate Optimization, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of AB Tasty, 94% of firms said their CRO initiatives have increased customer satisfaction. This suggests a virtuous cycle, where increasing customer satisfaction through CRO programs lays the groundwork for upsell and cross-sell opportunities and increased brand loyalty.
When it comes to website personalisation, it’s likewise clear consumer satisfaction increases when it’s used properly, as our infographic ‘Unpacking Personalization’ shows:
You can check out the full infographic here
Why Does Website Personalisation Work?
Most people think that website personalisation improves conversion rates because it makes consumers’ experiences more relevant. By creating a custom user journey through a site, website visitors are more likely to find content or products that appeal to them, and thus they engage more with the site. That certainly seems logical enough.
But there’s also a more in-depth explanation. It has to do with how the human mind tends to process information. Our brains are constantly bombarded with decisions to make: eat salad or sandwich for lunch, respond to that text now or later, work late or leave early… We simply cannot assess every decision we make with the same attention – and indeed, our brain is not wired to do so. Instead, it uses ‘information processing shortcuts,’ called cognitive biases, to bypass lengthy reasoning processes and skip straight to the decision or assessment, drawing from our personal frame of reference.
Source: Uplift Connect
Many marketers make use of common cognitive biases, like those of social proof, the Von Restorff effect, or the Barnum Effect, to increase their conversion rates. For example, product recommendations made ‘just for you,’ or personalisation campaigns that rely on user behavioral triggers or in-depth demographic data, make use of the ‘Barnum Effect.’ Similarly, improving last steps of the customer journey taps into the Peak-End Effect, or the cognitive bias that people tend to judge an entire experience on how they felt at the end of it, and not how they felt throughout.
Where Can Marketers Find Good Testing and Personalisation Ideas?
As described elsewhere on Mopinion, online customer feedback is an excellent source of A/B testing ideas. NPS surveys, questionnaires, exit feedback forms…all are great ways to step inside the shoes of your website visitors and understand how to improve their experience.
Other techniques can also give you a window into your customers’ experience without having to ask them directly. Session recording can show you precisely where visitors get stuck or lost. Heat mapping can outline where they pay the most attention, and what important web page elements are getting overlooked. And of course, reporting tools like Google Analytics can speak volumes about which web pages cause your visitors to bounce, and which bring them farther along the conversion funnel.
Insights tools like heat maps can provide a wealth of information and great website test and personalisation ideas.
By using you own customers as the starting point of your website tests and personalisation campaigns, you’re sure to improve their experience on your site – and therefore, your conversion rates.
About the Author
Robin Nichols (Content Marketing Manager at AB Tasty) has studied and worked in the U.S., Canada, England and France. Her educational background is in the humanities, (McGill University and Université Paris Diderot), and her professional experience spans the B2B SaaS start-up scene in Paris, France. Interested in the crossroads of technology and culture, her aim is to produce practical, on point content to help marketers of all stripes improve their conversion rates.